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Does MTN know something Turkcell doesn’t? SA group settles in to Tehran office

27 Apr 2005

South African mobile group MTN has reiterated its intent to enter the Iranian market by opening a corporate office in the country’s capital, Tehran. Ostensibly, the group says it is preparing for its participation in the forthcoming award of a third mobile licence in the country, but it is thought that the company is standing by in the event that Turkish operator Turkcell withdraws its investment in start-up second cellco Irancell. Turkcell is currently waiting on a decision by Iran’s Council of Guardians to clarify the terms and conditions of a revised foreign direct investment (FDI) bill which will govern its participation in Irancell. If the Turkish company formally rejects the decision, the government has indicated that it will re-run the tender, rather than re-enter into talks with MTN, which was runner-up to Turkcell the first time round. However, MTN’s Iran country manager Chris Kilowan is on record as saying that the operator is ‘prepared to re-adjust’ to comply with Iran’s new FDI legislation and remains hopeful that his company could yet get Turkcell’s licence without having to go to auction.

Iran, MTN Group

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